Gender and Luxury in the Urban Economy (1700-1914): a European perspective
Prague (29 ao?t - 1er sept. 2012)

Keywords: Gender, Luxury, European Town, Consumption, Retail
Section: Main session
Leading question: The role of the town as a crucial place for material and cultural circulations and for competition and emulation, relating this to the longue durée.
Key issues and scientific relevance: The themes of consumer culture and of luxury are now well-worked, but most of the studies on these topics concentrate on England – as a laboratory of new practices and as the cradle of the consumer society – and to a certain extent on France (luxury debates). The gender aspect is generally developed only in the margins. Also, there is often little link between the eighteenth-century debates and the rise of the consumer economy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Our aim is to call for papers that adopt an urban, gendered and comparative perspective on the European scale with the aim to
interrogate the relationship between gender, consumption and luxury in different kinds of urban societies from all parts of Europe. And furthermore to analyse, compare and put in perspective female and male consumer identities and practices and link these to urban circumstances such as political and economic structures etc.
The 18th century is obviously at the heart of the luxury debates but it seems important to include the second half of the 17th century when the luxury trades and guilds developed during the age of
mercantilism, and when the first criticisms of luxury emerged. Similarly, the importance of developments in the 19th and early twentieth century when consumption moved onto a larger scale with the development of department stores needs to be drawn into this story. Clearly urban development did not follow a single commercial path, and we call for papers on a full range of patterns in examining these debates and developments.
Further goals: The session will draw on networks and experiences from a session in Gent 2010 and from an ongoing network, ‘Gender in the European Town. The Making of the Modern Town’. However, the goal of the session is not to report from these activities, but to make a platform from which to broaden the range of participants in the network geographically and nationally in order to produce a real transnational European perspective.
Session organizers:
S’ren Bitsch Christensen (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
Anne Montenach (University of Aix-Marseille, France) –
Deborah Simonton (University of Southern Denmark)
Les propositions doivent être déposées sur le site de la conférence avant le 1er octobre prochain (session M 24) :